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Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper speaks to reporters on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, the day he announced he was running for U.S. Senate. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Hickenlooper is worth between $7.8 million and $23.6 million, according to a financial disclosure filed Friday.

The former two-term Colorado governor reported income between $733,000 and $2.4 million from January 2018 to October 2019, according to a Colorado Sun analysis of the disclosure report. Most of the income came from investment returns and dividends, but the totals also include his final year of salary from the state and his pension from his time as Denver mayor.

The disclosure includes assets belonging to his wife, Robin Hickenlooper, a senior vice president at Liberty Media Corporation, but her income is not disclosed. The couple’s combined assets are worth between $9.4 million and $27.3 million, the Sun’s analysis found.

Hickenlooper’s wealth first came under scrutiny in his abandoned presidential bid and the U.S. Senate race, most notably for his association with wealthy corporate titans. The Colorado Independent Ethics Commission is investigating whether Hickenlooper violated state ethics laws as governor by accepting improper gifts in the form of unreimbursed travel on private jets and a 2018 trip to Italy for the Bilderberg conference, an exclusive retreat for the world’s uber-rich and and influential.

His chief Democratic rival in the primary, former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, reported a net worth between $131,000 and $540,000, according to an analysis of his financial disclosure filed in May. He made little from his investments but reported making $211,000 in salary over two years as the leader of Mental Health Colorado before stepping down to run for Senate earlier this year.

Hickenlooper became wealthy as a brewpub and restaurant owner. He helped found Wynkoop Brewing in Denver, the state’s first brewpub, and went on to own a franchise of restaurants and real estate properties. He sold his Wynkoop shares in 2007 and reported $6.6 million in total income that year.

Now, most of Hickenlooper’s assets are in a blind trust formed when he was first elected as Denver’s mayor. The Democrat’s money has remained there for the past 16 years. 

U.S. Senate candidate John Hickenlooper speaks at a forum at Centennial Middle School in Montrose on Oct. 20, 2019. (William Woody, Special to The Colorado Sun)

The trustees have made, and will continue to make, all investment decisions, Hickenlooper’s campaign said Friday evening. The largest investments in Hickenlooper’s profile include pharmaceutical maker Proctor and Gamble, an investment worth between $1 million and $5 million. Others investments in his portfolio worth as much as $500,000 include Apple, Coca-Cola, pharmaceutical company Merck, Duke Energy, payroll company ADP and oil and gas giant Exxon Mobil.

The values are reported in broad ranges on the disclosure form, obscuring the true figures for net worth and assets.

“John created this blind trust to avoid any conflict of interest while serving as mayor and maintained this arrangement as governor,” said Melissa Miller, the campaign spokeswoman. “If elected to the Senate, John will keep his investments in the same irrevocable blind trust, and its trustees will continue to make all its investment decisions.”

Hickenlooper has long been a multi-millionaire, though his exact wealth has been difficult to pin down.

In 2010, when he made his first run at being Colorado’s governor, a Denver Post editorial said his estimated net worth was between $5 million and $10 million. When he ran for reelection in 2014, he released his 2012 tax returns revealing he made about $467,000 that year, according to CBS4.

If elected, Hickenlooper is pledging to donate more than the equivalent of his U.S. Senate salary to charity, a spokeswoman said.

The Colorado Sun —

Desk: 720-432-2229

Jesse Paul is a Denver-based political reporter and editor at The Colorado Sun, covering the state legislature, Congress and local politics. He is the author of The Unaffiliated newsletter and also occasionally fills in on breaking news coverage.

A Colorado College graduate, Jesse worked at The Denver Post from June 2014 until July 2018, when he joined The Sun. He was also an intern at The Gazette in Colorado Springs and The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware, his hometown.

Jesse has won awards for long form feature writing, public service reporting, sustained coverage and deadline news reporting.

Email: Twitter: @jesseapaul

John Frank is a former Colorado Sun staff writer. He left the publication in January 2021.